I’ve been hanging out with Steve Parrott of the Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, Colorado, lately, and I have to tell you, I think he’s made me a convert to Czech nymphing.
Steve has a relatively new DVD on the subject, which I eagerly endorse as a potential stocking stuffer, because he takes a topic that many of us find, well, literally “foreign,” and brings it right home in a way that’s easy to understand.
In fact, the more I Czech nymph, the less I find my mind daydreaming about Eastern European riverscapes I’ve never seen myself, and the more I think about the bass lakes in Alabama. Stick with me here: On a Czech nymph rig, you have a very heavy fly on the “point” or end of your fine line (tippet). A couple feet above that, you suspend a short tag line, with another “bait,” in this case, a smaller, lighter fly. The heavy fly sinks down, the tag flutters down through the water…
“Hmmm, I started thinking to myself, “that’s an awful lot like a drop shot rig.” Moreover, as you Czech nymph, you’re casting into a target zone and staying in tight contact with those flies as they drift downstream, feeling for the slightest bump or resistance as the point fly ticks along the bottom. “Hmmm,” I thought more, “that’s an awful lot like tube jigging for bass.”
Which only goes to show that fishing is fishing, and no matter the moniker or point of origin, certain fundamental principles can and should be applied to many types of fishing, from the lake to the river, from bass to trout, saltwater and so forth.
The real beauty of Czech nymphing is that it puts the “feel” back in the nymph fishing game. The great attribute of fly fishing–and its Achilles heel–is that it is a visually-driven sport. Everyone likes dry fly fishing (and fishing poppers for bass or bluefish, for example), because they like to see the eat. But when you go below the surface with a nymph rig, the visual game of watching a bobber float down a run, over and over, doesn’t quite flip my switch. I’m more than willing to trade visual nymphing for “feel” nymphing.
Of course, to each his (or her) own. But don’t dismiss Czech nymphing as some Euro fad, because when you try it, you’ll find it much more in your comfort zone than you might think. And it’s deadly effective. Now, if we jump two oceans at once, mixing a Czech nymph rig with a Japanese Tenkara rod, I bet that gets really interesting. We’ll see.